MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani and Indian troops traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing six persons and wounding others on both sides, officials said Friday, amid increasing tension between the South Asian nuclear rivals.
In a statement, Pakistan’s military blamed India for initiating the clash by firing rockets and mortar shells that killed one Pakistani civilian and wounded three others.
The statement called it the latest unprovoked incident of cease-fire violations by India and said Pakistani troops responded by targeting the Indian posts.
In Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, police officer Mohammed Ashraf said two Indian army soldiers and three civilians, including one woman, were killed by Pakistani shelling. He said one civilian was listed in critical condition at a hospital. Two houses also were damaged in the shelling, Ashraf said. Col Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman, blamed Pakistan for starting the shelling.
In Pakistan, authorities said the exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian forces started Thursday and continued overnight in Kashmir, which is split between both countries and claimed by both in its entirety.
The latest development comes a day after Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge a protest over this week’s alleged Indian violation of a 2003 cease-fire agreement. Two civilians were wounded on the Pakistani side of the border in that exchange of fire.
Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
Tensions between the two countries soared in February 2019, when Pakistan shot down an Indian warplane in Kashmir and captured a pilot in response to an airstrike by Indian aircraft targeting militants inside Pakistan. India said the strikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.
Associated Press writer Shah Abbas contributed to this story from Srinagar, India.
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